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The Crow

The Crow
Eric Draven
The Crow #1 (February 1989).
Publication information
Publisher Caliber Press
Created by James O'Barr
In-story information
Alter ego Eric Draven

The Crow is a comic book series created by James O'Barr. The series was originally written by O'Barr as a means of dealing with the death of his girlfriend at the hands of a drunk driver. It was later published by Caliber Comics in 1989, becoming an underground success, and later adapted into a film of the same name in 1994. Three film sequels, a television series and numerous books and comic books have also been subsequently produced.

The Crow has been translated into almost a dozen languages and has sold around 750,000 copies worldwide.[1]


  • Plot 1
  • Characters 2
  • Special Edition A.K.A. Author's Edition 3
  • Comics and books 4
    • Original comics 4.1
      • Deadworld #10 (November 1988) 4.1.1
      • Caliber Presents #1 (January 1989) 4.1.2
      • The Crow #1-4 (February 1989 to May 1989) 4.1.3
      • A Caliber Christmas (December 1989) 4.1.4
      • Caliber Presents #15 (September 1990) 4.1.5
    • Later Stories 4.2
    • Film and television 4.3
  • Bibliography 5
    • Comics 5.1
    • Novels 5.2
    • Short Stories 5.3
    • Films 5.4
    • Television 5.5
  • Reception 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8


The story revolves around an unfortunate young man named Eric. He and his fiancée, Shelly, are assaulted by a gang of street thugs after their car breaks down. Eric is shot in the head and is paralyzed, and can only watch as Shelly is savagely beaten and raped. They are then left for dead on the side of the road.

He is resurrected by a crow and seeks vengeance on the murderers, methodically stalking and killing them. When not on the hunt, Eric stays in the house he shared with Shelly, spending most of his time there lost in memories of her. Her absence is torture for him; he is in emotional pain, even engaging in self-mutilation by cutting himself.

The crow acts as both guide and goad for Eric, giving him information that helps him in his quest but also chastising him for dwelling on Shelly's death, seeing his pining as useless self-indulgence that distracts him from his purpose.


  • Sherri: A young street girl whom Eric meets while going after Funboy. Sherri is shown as upset, due to her mother not being there for her, and even goes so far as to tell Eric that she believes she's been bad and God sent her to Hell. She and Eric seem to bond closely, and feeling sorry for her, he gives her Shelly's engagement ring. She's overjoyed, because no one has ever given her a gift before, and she calls him a "clown", while he calls her a "princess". She is renamed Sarah in the film adaptation.
  • T-Bird: The head of the gang that murders Shelly and Eric.
  • Funboy: T-Bird's right-hand man, a morphine addict who is sleeping with Sherri's mother.
  • Top Dollar: A low-level drug dealer; in the film adaptation, he is the city's crime boss.
  • Tin-Tin: The first of T-Bird's gang to be eliminated by Eric.
  • Tom-Tom: One of T-Bird's soldiers and one of Shelly's rapists. Tom-Tom is absent from the film adaptation, being replaced by Skank.
  • Gideon: A pawnbroker who is used by T-Bird's lackeys to fence Shelly's engagement ring.
  • Officer Albrecht: A beat cop who confronts Eric outside Gideon's pawnshop.
  • Captain Hook: The detective who originally handled Eric and Shelly's case. Eric sends him his regards through Albrecht.

Special Edition A.K.A. Author's Edition

O'Barr stated in a 2004 interview that The Crow: Author's Edition would contain at least "60 pages of new material that no one has ever seen. Half of that are pages that had to be removed for space reasons". O'Barr describes the additions as including "more romance flashback scenes between Eric and Shelly", as well as sequences which will make the work "more visually interesting".[2]

On January 16, 2010, it was announced on James O'Barr's official website that the Author's Edition of The Crow is indeed going to be released and that James O'Barr was currently working on it.[3]

On April 7, 2011, it was announced on James O'Barr's official website that The Crow: Special Edition would be released on July 28, 2011.[4]

Comics and books

Original comics

Deadworld #10 back cover. Art by James O'Barr. 1988.

Deadworld #10 (November 1988)

James O'Barr provided a back cover to the first Caliber Press comic book published which contained an advertisement for the upcoming The Crow appearance in Caliber Presents #1. It is the main character standing with a smoking shotgun in one hand, and a samurai sword in the other with the statement "For Some Things...There Is No Forgiveness". It mentions The Crow appearing in February 1989.

Caliber Presents #1 (January 1989)

O'Barr again provided a back cover for this issue, as well as an the story "Inertia" that serves as a prequel to the main series and is The Crow's first appearance.

The Crow #1-4 (February 1989 to May 1989)

Issues 1-4, titled "Pain", "Fear", "Irony", and "Despair" take readers through a series of vengeance tales as The Crow cuts and shoots through Tin Tin, Tom Tom, Top Dollar, Funboy and T-Bird, the gang members that attacked and killed him and his lover Shelly.

A Caliber Christmas (December 1989)

"Atmosphere" has Eric reflecting back on happier times with Shelly. In The Crow graphic novel, this story is placed between issues 2 and 3.

Caliber Presents #15 (September 1990)

This issue contains a preview of the unpublished The Crow #5, titled "Death", that was meant to complete the original story arc. Tundra Publishing later reprinted the the first four issues in two double sized volumes and printed "Death" (also double sized) as the third volume.

Later Stories

From 1996-1998, Kitchen Sink Press published five mini-series and a one-shot based on The Crow concept with a new avatar in each series.

Following the Kitchen Sink series, London Night Studios published The Crow/Razor: Kill the Pain in 1998, which saw Eric Draven paired with Everette Hartsoe's bad girl character Razor.

Also in 1998, O'Barr and editor Ed Kramer asked an array of fiction writers, poets and artists (including Gene Wolfe, Alan Dean Foster, Charles de Lint, Jack Dann, Jane Yolen, Henry Rollins and Iggy Pop) to interpret this Gothic fiction phenomenon. The Crow: Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams was released by Random House on Halloween, and a year later, in a limited signed and numbered volume, by Donald M. Grant Publishing.

In 1999, Image Comics released a new Crow comic series with yet another take on the Eric Draven story. It ran for ten issues, ending in November of that year.

In July 2012, IDW published a new five-issue Crow series The Crow: Death and Rebirth written by novelist John Shirley (co-writer of the original Crow film) and illustrated by Kevin Colden.[5]

Three more IDW Crow series have followed: The Crow: Skinning the Wolves (2013), The Crow: Curare (2013) and The Crow: Pestilence (2014).

Film and television

In 1994, a film based on the comic (titled The Crow) was released to theaters by Miramax Films. The film was both a critical and commercial success earning $50,693,129[6] total gross during its 1994 United States theatrical release. A cult following, in part due to the accidental death of its star Brandon Lee on the film's set, has maintained the film's popularity, with a regular staple of movie memorabilia being found at retailers like Hot Topic. Three sequels have been made so far: The Crow: City of Angels (1996), starring Vincent Pérez (as The Crow), Mia Kirshner, Richard Brooks and Iggy Pop; The Crow: Salvation (2000), starring Eric Mabius (as The Crow), Kirsten Dunst and Fred Ward; and The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005), starring Edward Furlong (as The Crow), David Boreanaz and Tara Reid. A television series, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven (1998), was based on the first movie with Mark Dacascos replacing Lee in the role of Eric Draven.

In the late 1990s, a sequel/reboot to The Crow entitled The Crow: 2037 was in the works; it would be set in the future. It was written and scheduled to be directed by Rob Zombie, but it was ultimately cancelled.[7][8][9][10]

On December 14, 2008, Stephen Norrington announced in Variety that he planned to write and direct a "reinvention" of The Crow. Norrington distinguished between the original and his remake: "Whereas Proyas’ original was gloriously Gothic and stylized, the new movie will be realistic, hard-edged and mysterious, almost documentary-style."[11] Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media is currently negotiating with Edward R. Pressman for both the film's rights and financing.[12] As of May 2013, actor Luke Evans has accepted the role of Eric with F. Javier Gutiérrez set to direct. According to James O'Barr the movie is expected to be much more faitful to the comic including flashbacks, metaphors, horses, trains, and barbed wire making it not suitable for younger audiences.[13] Director Javier Gutierrez also confirmed that his intentions are to create literally a page-by-page adaptation of the movie, detail that pleased fans of the comic.[14] Filming is slated to start in the spring of 2015.[15]



  • The Crow (1989) by James O'Barr
  • The Crow: Dead Time (1996) story by James O'Barr
  • The Crow: Flesh and Blood (1996) story by James Vance
  • The Crow: City of Angels (1996) adapted from the screenplay
  • The Crow: Wild Justice (1996) story by Jerry Prosser
  • The Crow: Waking Nightmares (1997) story by Christopher Golden
  • The Crow #0 (1998) story by James O'Barr / various
  • The Crow / Razor: Kill the Pain (1998) story by Evette Hartsoe
  • Todd Mcfarlane Presents: The Crow (1999)
    • Issue #1-5 collected as The Crow Midnight Legends Volume 5: Resurrection
    • Issue #6-10 collected as The Crow Midnight Legends Volume 6: Touch Of Evil
  • The French Crow (2002-11) currently 5 volumes, stories by various including Christophe Henin ("The Medieval Crow"), Eric Godeau ("La Fiancée du Corbeau"), Yoann Boisseau ("Le Sang des Innocents") and Cyrille Munaro ("The Very Savage Night"), published in France by Reflexions[16]
  • The Crow: Death & Rebirth (2012) story by John Shirley
  • The Crow: Skinning the Wolves (2012) story by James O'Barr and Jim Terry
  • The Crow: Curare (2013) story by James O'Barr
  • The Crow: Pestilence (2014) story by Frank Bill


  • The Crow: City of Angels (1996) by Chet Williamson
  • The Crow: Quoth the Crow (1998) by David Bischoff
  • The Crow: The Lazarus Heart (1998) by Poppy Z. Brite
  • The Crow: Clash by Night (1998) by Chet Williamson
  • The Crow: Temple of Night (1999) by S P. Somtow
  • The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2000) by Norman Partridge
  • The Crow: Hellbound (2001) by A. A. Attanasio

Short Stories

  • The Crow: Shattered Lives & Broken Dreams (1999) ed. James O'Barr & Ed Kramer




  • The Crow ranked 37th in the IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes[17]

In 2005 it was claimed[18] in the Author's website that The Crow was:

  • The best selling independent black-and-white graphic novel of all time.
  • Translated into almost a dozen languages and has sold over a quarter-million copies world wide.
  • The second American Comic Book to get its Author the "Storyteller Award" by the International Comic Festival held annually in Angoulême, France.

See also


  1. ^ "The Crow Translations". Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  2. ^ Epstein, Daniel Robert (May 21, 2004). "James O'Barr, creator of The Crow". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2008-04-24.  Archived on 2008-04-24.
  3. ^ "The Crow Author's Edition". James O'Barr. January 16, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  4. ^ release date!The Crow: Special Edition
  5. ^ The Comic Book Critic. "Preview of The Crow #1 (IDW)". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  6. ^ "The Crow". Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  7. ^ "Zombie Will Write/Direct Next "Crow" Flick – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. 1997-02-11. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  8. ^ "What happened to the Rob Zombie script for Crow: 2037?". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  9. ^ "Scripts on the Net – The Crow: 2037 A New World of Gods and Monster, by Rob Zombie – Read The Screenplay". 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  10. ^ "100 Wonderful and Terrible Movies That Never Existed". 2012-08-10. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  11. ^ Fleming, Michael (2008-12-14). "Norrington flies with 'Crow' franchise". Variety. 
  12. ^ "The Crow Relaunch Moves Forward With Casting".  
  13. ^ "NYCC 2014: Twenty Years Of ‘The Crow’ With James O’Barr". IGN. 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  14. ^ "Comic Creator James O’Barr Promises The Crow Reboot Will Not Be A Remake". IGN. 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  15. ^ "The Crow Reboot to Start Shooting in Spring 2015". IGN. 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ The Crow - #37 Top Comic Book Heroes - IGN
  18. ^ CrowFansOnline and James O'Barr - the official fansite of the creator of The Crow
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